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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Pleasing God

Last July I opened up and talked about my walk with God.  That post has received a lot of positive response and emails, as well as having led to an email pen-pal.  I know that religion and God are not important to all of my readers, but it is central in my life and I'm not going to hide this side of me.  Part of the reason for this blog has always been and will always be to show the human aspects of life as a vet.  And all of this brings us to an email I received a few weeks ago from Gina.

I just wanted to say Thank You! I read your blog on Rachel's email it has inspired me! I am glad there are true Christian vets out there I was beginning to feel like I was going into a faithless field. But I'm encouraged by your testimony. I too am wanting to become a veterinarian, it's a passion I know God has placed in my heart. I too am a new born in Christ. Now because of Christ I feel like I can actually accomplish the dream. Not sure where to start though, any suggestions? My question however is how do you feel being a Vet pleases God, as the true calling in your life?

Here's an interesting thing.  Personally I don't think that being a vet is my true calling from God.  Over the years I have gotten involved in various aspects of ministry and now help lead a ministry group (Fans For Christ), which is what I think God's real purpose for me is.  As I often say, being a vet is what I do, not who I am.  I certainly do believe that God has given me interests, talents, and other gifts related to veterinary medicine that allows me to be successful and well liked in my field.  Yes, I have worked hard to get where I am, but the doors have opened because of God, and my mind and personality were shaped by Him, so ultimately I give Him the thanks.  However, I think that my experience in this profession has lead me to be in the right places for God to use me in other ways.  For example, if I hadn't moved to Georgia because of my job I wouldn't be as involved in Fans For Christ as I currently am.  My training and experience as a practice manager has helped me in handling the challenges of leading a very diverse group of people.

But God wanted me to be a vet and lead me to this profession, so I'm sure that there is a reason for this.  When I'm at work I try to keep in mind that as a Christian I may be the only Bible that people read.  I need to conduct myself around staff and clients in a way that is pleasing to Christ, while also remembering humility.  I try to be a "servant leader" as Jesus has described, where I lead by trying to do things for others.  I pray for my patients, especially for very sick ones.  I ask God for help with difficult surgeries and thank Him afterwards.  And when it is appropriate, I bring God into conversations with clients.

Jesus was a healer, and I think that medical professionals of all sorts follow in Christ's footsteps, though obviously we cannot perform miracles.  But ultimately whether or not I please God has to do with my heart, actions, and words as opposed to my specific abilities as a doctor.  God wants me to do my best in my profession, but it doesn't matter to Him if someone is a better diagnostician or can do more complicated surgeries.  It is more important if I follow what is outlined in Matthew 22:37-40....Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Basically love God and love others.  If I do this in the way that the Bible teaches, then I will please my Lord, even if I can't save every patient.